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Udder mastitis in a cow: what it looks like, what happens, how to cure

Every farmer should know the symptoms of mastitis and drugs for the treatment of breast pathology. At the initial stage, it is important to distinguish this disease from a number of other similar diseases. Before starting treatment, you should contact your veterinarian and establish an accurate diagnosis.

What is mastitis in a cow

Mastitis is an inflammatory disease of the cow's mammary gland. Typically, the causative agents are some types of staphylococci or streptococci. Other types of infections are rare. This disease is one of the most unprofitable in cattle breeding, since milk yield drops significantly during the disease. In the course of treatment, it is forbidden to consume dairy products due to the presence of antibiotics in it. The recovery period takes a certain amount of time.

The causes of the disease are varied, but the responsibility for such pathological processes lies with the herder.

Cows with some anatomical features of the udder are predisposed to the disease. It is believed that individuals with an elongated gland and funnel-shaped nipples are most susceptible to this disease. It was also noticed that certain breeds of cattle often suffer from mastitis - Simmental, Red Steppe. To some extent, the development of the disease can be influenced by immunity, season, age, physiological state of the animal. Mastitis often occurs in cows on large farms where milking is done using milking machines. Domestic individuals practically do not suffer from this pathology.

What does mastitis look like in a cow?

Symptoms of mastitis, its manifestations depend on the form of the disease. Particularly attentive, experienced milkmaids and herders can detect the disease at an early stage. The following symptoms indicate the onset of the disease:

  • redness of the nipple;
  • there are small impurities of curd flakes in milk;
  • the volume of milk production is significantly reduced.

In some forms of mastitis, the udder changes color and spots appear on the skin. Over time, other signs of the disease appear:

  • the udder or individual lobes swell, the temperature rises;
  • there is pain on palpation, the presence of seals;
  • there is an increase in lymph nodes;
  • a viscous white secret emerges from the gland.

The general condition of the cow also changes. Her appetite disappears, some lethargy is observed, breathing becomes rapid, the pulse rises.

What causes mastitis in cows

The disease appears in cows during lactation and can often be latent. If a cow is found to have mastitis, it must be isolated from the rest of the herd. Pathogens enter the animal's body in the following way:

  • with inflammation during endometriosis;
  • through the milkways during milking;
  • through cracks and wounds in the skin of the udder - they are the entrance gate for infection.

The factors that can provoke the development of mastitis in a cow are postpartum inflammation, damage to the udder from a blow, poor milk production, unsanitary conditions in the barn, and a poor diet.

Attention! It should be understood that the udder is a delicate organ and the milkmaid must be able to properly milk the cow, handle the udder before and after milking, and regularly massage.

Congenital predisposition also plays an important role in the development of mastitis.

But the main cause of mastitis in a cow is the animal's weak immune system, in which the body cannot resist infection and provoking factors.

Classification of mastitis in cows

Symptoms of mastitis in cows can vary significantly with different forms of the disease. There are the following types of disease:

  • serous;
  • catarrhal;
  • fibrous;
  • purulent;
  • hemorrhagic;
  • colimastitis;
  • subclinical.

Serous mastitis can affect cows after calving. This form is acute. The udder turns red, swells, becomes hard. Simultaneously with these manifestations, the volume of milk, its fat content, decreases. Serous mastitis very quickly becomes chronic, so urgent help from a veterinarian is required.

Catarrhal form of mastitis affects mainly first-calf heifers. The first symptoms of the disease make themselves felt immediately after calving. The cow develops mastitis in one lobe or quarter. After a slight compaction, nodules are found after a week. This is a blockage in the milk ducts. With the catarrhal form of the disease, the cow behaves relatively calmly, but the quality of milk deteriorates every day: its fat content decreases, flakes and clots appear.

The fibrous form of mastitis is considered the most dangerous of all the others. The onset of the disease is characterized by a sharp rise in body temperature, the cow begins to limp, and is anxious on palpation. Milk yield decreases, lactation stops altogether in the affected part of the udder.

With purulent development of mastitis, milk contains clots of casein and pus. The cow is depressed, there is no appetite, the animal prefers to lie down. Gangrene develops inside the udder. Purulent mastitis is subdivided into purulent-catarrhal, phlegmon, abscess.

Clinical signs of a hemorrhagic form of mastitis in a cow are blood in the milk, an increase in the body temperature of the animal up to 41 ° C. The general condition of the individual is depressed.

With the development of colimastitis, lactation stops completely, even if only one lobe of the breast is affected. The body temperature rises to 42 ° C, signs of exhaustion and dehydration appear. This form of mastitis is extremely difficult to treat.

With the development of subclinical mastitis, there are no obvious symptoms, but the infection is rapidly spreading. In this case, the disease can only be detected during monitoring of the milk flora. If you skip the onset of the disease, then it will develop into a serous form, and then into a chronic one.

The chronic form of mastitis manifests itself if the acute stage proceeded imperceptibly, and the animal's body coped independently. The diagnosis can be made by analyzing milk, using the sedimentation method, or using a special test. The chronic form should be treated despite the absence of symptoms, otherwise the mastitis will periodically worsen.

How to check for mastitis in a cow

In order not to miss the beginning of the development of mastitis, it is necessary to take milk for analysis once a month during the entire lactation period. Sometimes a similar test for mastitis in cows is done at home. For this, a 5% solution of dimastin and special milk control plates are used.

In each of the cells, 1 ml of milk is decanted from that milking, which corresponds to the proportion of the cow's udder. 1 ml of dimastine is added to each sample, everything is mixed and observed for about 15 minutes.

If the liquid remains homogeneous, then the reaction to mastitis is negative. With jelly-like traces, it is doubtful. A clot indicates a positive reaction. Color also matters. An orange tint is the norm, red is the presence of pathology.

Important! The first drops must be drained - they always contain a lot of bacteria. This is considered the norm.

As an additional examination, you can apply the sedimentation method:

  • first, you should milk 10 ml of milk from each nipple;
  • put it in the refrigerator for 17 hours at a temperature of 10 ° C;
  • then inspect the color, sediment, width of the fat layer.

A cow with mastitis has watery milk, sediment more than 1 mm.

Bromothymol testing is widely used in veterinary medicine. A solution of 0.5 of the substance is mixed with distilled water. A couple of drops of the mixture are injected into 1 ml of milk and the color change is observed. The presence or absence of the disease is determined by its shade.

Each of the samples has some error, therefore, several tests should be carried out using different methods and preparations.

How to treat mastitis in cows

The treatment regimen for mastitis in cows depends on the severity and form of the disease. In any case, antibiotic therapy is most important. The animal should be isolated in a clean room, ensure complete rest, and reduce the volume of water and succulent feed to reduce milk production. The following therapeutic measures will also be helpful:

  • rubbing in antibacterial ointments;
  • the imposition of bandages, compresses with medicinal products;
  • udder massage before and after milking;
  • milking 4 times a day only by hand;
  • washing the milk ducts with antibiotic solutions;
  • washing the breast with warm water 5-6 times a day.

It is possible to treat mastitis in cows in start up with antibiotics. This is one of the most effective methods of getting rid of the infection. The therapy is carried out in a complex manner, with the use of vitamins, fortifying drugs.

Treatment for chronic mastitis in a cow

Getting rid of the chronic form of mastitis is quite difficult. Therefore, the treatment must be comprehensive. They use drugs containing hormones, antibiotics, antibacterial substances. Vaccines against mastitis in cows can be used. Some of these products are based on antibiotics and can act against bacteria.

Homeopathic preparations in the form of gels and vaccines are widely used. They work well with traditional treatment methods and have no side effects.

Mastitis in cows is sometimes successfully treated without antibiotics. Often a special composition is used for this: 40 ml of a 2% solution of novocaine, 60 ml of 40% glucose, 60 ml of calcium borogluconate are mixed, heated to 38 ° C. The solution should be injected into the peritoneum in the area of ​​the hungry fossa 3 times, every 48 hours.

A good effect is achieved in the treatment of mastitis in cows with antibiotics, especially during the dry period.

Treatment of acute mastitis in a cow

Mastitis negatively affects the general health of the cow. Antibiotics will not be enough, therefore, general strengthening drugs are prescribed to restore the immune system. In the acute form of the disease, they are used:

  • streptocide solution;
  • glucose;
  • sodium chloride solution;
  • novocaine solution;
  • inside the udder a solution of ichthyol.

When abscesses, suppurations appear, it is necessary to open them. The procedure must be done by a veterinarian. After opening, special care will be required for the wounds.

In especially difficult cases - abscess, phlegmon, gangrene are used:

  • saline with novocaine;
  • urotropine with calcium chloride;
  • a solution of potassium permanganate is injected into a diseased nipple with gangrene.

To maintain the body, the cow is prescribed drugs with caffeine in the composition.

Preparations for mastitis in cows

The treatment of cows with breast disease should be handled by a qualified specialist. As a rule, regardless of the form of pathology, the therapy will be complex, consisting of compresses, physiotherapy procedures, taking antibacterial drugs, as well as folk remedies.

Treatment with medications is carried out several times a day at certain hours. For this, sterile instruments and disposable syringes are used.

Important! Treatment, care, milking of a cow must be carried out taking into account all sanitary standards and requirements. Medical manipulations are carried out only by a veterinarian.

Injections for mastitis in cows

One of the most effective methods of treating mastitis in cows is the injection of drugs into the nipple with syringes (intracisternal method). The drugs are quickly absorbed and after a short period of time, a positive result of such treatment can be observed. However, the method has a number of disadvantages:

  • can lead to narrowing and subsequent overgrowth of the nipple;
  • the formation of stagnant milk;
  • from the introduction of antibiotics, candidiasis of the udder begins.

In addition, insufficient sterility of the syringe, catheter during the procedure, can lead to additional infection of the udder and milk canal.

Ointments for mastitis in cows

Special ointments can have a positive medicinal effect. Heparin, ichthyol ointment is well suited. They facilitate quick removal of the seals. Light massage movements using camphor oil help from knots, lumps. For wounds, abscesses, Vishnevsky's ointment is used.

Folk remedies for mastitis in a cow

The catarrhal, fibrous form of mastitis is successfully treated with clay. To do this, mix two types of clay: red and white, add a decoction of plantain and nettle. This mixture is used to lubricate the udder overnight. In the morning it should be washed with chamomile or dandelion infusion. The procedure helps to relieve puffiness, partially relieves pain, and has an antibacterial effect.

A compress of raw beets with honey helps a lot. The udder of a cow is coated with the mixture. The procedure should be performed 15-20 times.

Puffiness, pain, inflammation are removed by grated carrots with a cabbage leaf.

The breast of a cow after calving can be treated with starch. Rice, potato starch is applied to the seals in the mammary gland. It is diluted in warm water and vegetable oil is added.

Important! Folk remedies will not help get rid of the neglected degree of the disease completely. They can be used as complementary treatments.

Udder massage for mastitis

Massage with the use of certain creams is effective. They are able to warm up inflamed udder tissues, dilate blood vessels, and relieve puffiness. A room temperature cream is applied to the affected area with a thin layer and rubbed into the skin with massage movements.

Compositions based on camphor oil have the same properties. Such funds are used for 10 days twice a day. They can be used to prevent any form of mastitis. The effect is noticeable already on the 3rd day of application.

For some types of mastitis, massage is contraindicated, as is the use of warming compresses, creams, ointments.

Can I drink milk if a cow has mastitis?

Milk from a cow sick with mastitis has no biological value. It loses its fat content, acidity, and does not withstand high temperatures. In the process of making cheese, cottage cheese, condensed milk, difficulties may arise in adhering to production technology and product quality.

In addition, with advanced forms of mastitis, milk and dairy products will contain pus and flakes. Therefore, you cannot use such products. It is not recommended to feed the calf mastitis milk.

After the animal recovers, at least 2-3 weeks must pass for the milk to become of high quality. During this time, all drugs will be released from the body, the number of somatic cells is stabilized.

Important! It is possible to eat milk and drink it to the calf after all laboratory tests have been performed by the veterinarian, which will show a negative result for mastitis.

How to milk a cow after mastitis

To properly milk a cow after mastitis, repeat the milking procedure 5-6 times a day. For active milk flow, a course of the hormone oxytocin is pierced, which significantly increases milk production. The drug can also be used in case of complete loss of milk after calving. It is necessary to distribute the cow gradually, alternately checking the lactation in the diseased and healthy lobes.

Important! It is necessary to change the diet: add more juicy feed and vitamins. Also during this period, the cow should drink a sufficient amount of liquid.

Prevention of mastitis in cows

Prevention of mastitis includes the following measures:

  • keeping the barn clean, free of foreign objects, to prevent injury to the udder;
  • lack of dampness and drafts in the room;
  • only clean bedding should be used;
  • hygiene procedures before and after milking;
  • correct milking technique with hands and milking installations;
  • regular udder massage;
  • a well-designed feeding ration;
  • timely diagnosis;
  • milk analysis (tests);
  • correct launch of the animal;
  • complete expression of milk during the milking procedure;
  • vitamins and minerals in the diet.

The milkmaid should inspect the udder of the cow daily and, at the slightest suspicion of mastitis, consult a veterinarian.


Symptoms of mastitis in a cow and medications for treatment should be known to every cow owner. Milk is a unique product - it can be consumed raw and many dairy products can be prepared from it. A cattle breeder requires strength and resources to monitor the health of the animal, its diet, and living conditions. Only then will he have highly productive cows on his farm.

Watch the video: Treatment of Clinical Mastitis (May 2021).